Children's Program Coordinator at Sanctuary for Families
Damara began her career in the field of social services as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate in the Witness Aid Services Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. While obtaining her Master of Social from New York University, she was a Program Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City. Damara is currently the Children’s Program Coordinator for Sanctuary for Families at the Manhattan Family Justice Center. She works with children and families who have experienced abuse, empowering them towards stability. Damara is also a yoga teacher and enjoys running in her hometown of Queens.
Todd Dwayne Williams
Todd is a retired long-distance runner from the United States, who represented his native country at two consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1992. During high school he won the Michigan team race title twice. He was a two-time United States cross country champion, with victories in 1991 and 1993. He attended the University of Tennessee where he was an All-American for three years. Is also a Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt under Luiz Palhares and runs an ASICS sponsored company known as RunSafer.
Williams also holds the 3rd-fastest half marathon time ever by an American of 60:11 which he ran in Tokyo in 1993.
Jessica Zapotechne, aka Jessie Zapo
Founder of Girls Run NYC (women's running collective) @girlsrunnyc on IG Global Ambassador for adidas Women Performance Running Coach for adidas Runners NYC #adidasRunnersNYC
Jessie is an artist, wellness professional and running coach based in New York City. She is the founder and coach of Girls Run NYC, a Women's running collective. Girls Run NYC is focused on empowering women through community and sport using running as a tool to connect Women across NYC and it’s five boroughs. She is also the Performance Running Coach for adidas Runners NYC.
As a wellness professional, Jessie has been practicing Art Therapy in NYC for over 12 years with a focus on youth and young adults who are at-risk and in transition. She is opening her private practice, Restorative Running, which has a combined focus on movement and art-making this fall. Jessie enjoys cycling, painting and photography when she's not running.
Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Training at the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence (ENDGBV)
Hannah is the Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Training at the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender Based Violence (ENDGBV), formerly known as the Office to Combat Domestic Violence. Previously, Hannah served as the ENDGBV’s Director of Policy and before that Executive Director of the Manhattan Family Justice Center. Hannah came to the Mayor’s Office from Sanctuary for Families where she was Director of the agency’s Bronx Legal Project housed at the Bronx Family Justice Center. Hannah started her legal career in private practice as an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where she worked on various commercial litigations and government investigations for over seven years. She graduated from Rutgers Law School and the Cornell University School of Industrial Relations. While at Rutgers, Hannah co-founded the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project and secured a federal Violence Against Women Act grant to fund the program.
Writer, Editor, & Runner
Ali is a writer, editor, and runner with a heart for sports journalism and a desire to showcase well-told stories. She is currently a features editor on the Runner’s World and Bicycling teams, focusing on longform narratives, essays, and profiles. Formerly, she worked on RW’s daily news and event coverage, helping cover events like The Boston Marathon and the 2016 Olympics. In addition to bylines on Runner’s World and Bicycling, her work has appeared in Sport Literate, Garden & Gun, and Gulf Coast Literary Journal. If she’s not reading or writing, you’ll likely find her slowly running trails, attempting to mountain bike, or trying to race strangers on the road.
Zola Z. Bruce MSSW
Associate Director of Communications and Impact
Zola is a social worker, activist and artist who focuses on helping people to create the life they want in all aspects of their lives. Originally from Dallas, TX, they moved to New York to attend Sarah Lawrence College to study psychology and sculpture, in addition they did a semester abroad with The School for International Training in Kingston, Jamaica where they studied Gender and Development. Zola received their Masters of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 2001. Afterwards they worked for 12 years in youth development with organizations including the Center for Family Life, McBurney YMCA, and the LGBTQ Center focusing on creating therapeutic art programs for youth and families. Internationally they started a nonprofit, Unified for Global Healing, where they developed grassroots community health initiatives in Haiti, Ghana, and India using the arts to communicate beyond language, class, and cultural barriers. Combining their experiences in art, activism, and social work, Zola is currently expanding their own creativity via writing and performance installations.
Simran Jeet Singh
Educator, Writer, Activist, & Scholar
Simran is an award-winning educator, writer, activist, and scholar who believes deeply that love, equity, and justice are closely intertwined. He writes and speaks regularly on issues of diversity, inclusion, religion, race, and hate violence, and his thought leadership extends to a number of audiences, including university campuses, government bodies, and leadership conferences.
Simran is a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Center for Religion and Media and a Senior Religion Fellow for the Sikh Coalition, a civil rights organization based in New York City. Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Simran is a diehard Spurs fan and avid marathoner. He currently lives with his wife and two daughters in Manhattan, New York.
Kimhas worked to make communities stronger and safer in New York City for over 25 years. She began her teaching career in arts education working for the Metropolitan Opera, the 92nd Street Y and the acclaimed TADA! Youth Theater. Ten years ago when a four-year-old boy was killed by an SUV in her neighborhood, she changed her career. For the past eight years, she has served as the Assistant Commissioner for Education and Outreach at the New York City Department of Transportation with a team of over 30 people serving 700 schools, senior centers and community organizations each year. She has been thrilled to oversee communications and outreach for Vision Zero under Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
Carolineis a feminist, photographer, writer, painter, traveler and native NY’er. At the age of 41 she fractured her patella while ice skating and through her recovery fell in love with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Eight years later, she is a purple belt under Renzo Gracie professor Anthony Buck at Zero G BJJ in Brooklyn, NY. With her family in tow, she has hiked over 1000 miles, and has dedicated her life to spreading the love of Jiu Jitsu while keeping the slacker lifestyle alive and well.
Senior Editor, The New York Times
Talyais a senior editor at The New York Times and an avid runner. She began running competitively as an 11-year-old in USATF meets, and raced throughout high school and college. She now runs marathons and road races wherever she can find them. In August, she wrote a piece called "Running While Female" following the death of Mollie Tibbetts. You can find her on Twitter @tminsberg.